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PHILADELPHIA - SEPTEMBER 02: Jamaal Jackson #67 of the Philadelphia Eagles sits on the bench against New York Jets in a preseason game at Lincoln Financial Field on September 2, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
After Week 1 of this upcoming NFL season, you’re gonna hear a lot of oohing and ahhing over Patriots wideout Wes Welker catching balls a mere nine months after having his knee blown apart in a game against the Houston Texans. But Welker is far from the only NFL player trying to make a quick turnaround from a significant knee injury. Eagles center Jamaal Jackson told Les Bowen today that he feels comfortable returning to the starting lineup just nine months after tearing his left ACL.
(Coaches) think Jackson is ready to play center in the opener Sunday against Green Bay. But they won't really know Jackson is up to the challenge of playing a full game with a 3-4 nose tackle in his face, less than 9 months after tearing his left anterior cruciate ligament, until he does it…
"I feel confident in it, but I still haven't played a whole game; I'll just have to see how I hold up through four quarters of football," said Jackson, who is wearing a brace on his left knee. "Can I get the job done? I guess we'll find out Sunday."
That’s not exactly a ringing vote of confidence that Jackson has there in his own body. But it’s hard to blame him for not knowing what the outcome will be after suffering what is still, regardless of medical advances, a hugely traumatic injury. Bowen says that the Eagles are 13-3 when Jackson starts alongside guards Nick Cole and Todd Herremans. And they’ll need all three men against an active Packers 3-4 front that features delightful zone blitzes coming from all angles. If Jackson can’t hold up, Mike McGlynn will take over.
Sunday’s game against Green Bay is critical for obvious reasons, but it’s worth reiterating that a good start for Kevin Kolb on Sunday would bode extremely well for Philly’s chances the rest of the year. If Jackson’s knee can’t hold, and Kolb starts getting nailed, and starts fumbling, and then starts getting booed, suddenly a whole training camp’s worth of promise is blown to pieces within four measly quarters.
So let’s hope modern medicine worked its magic on Jackson and that knee holds up. There seems to be a good deal resting on it.